SINGAPORE - The latest Apple Watch operating system - watchOS 2 - brings with it many new and welcome improvements. Among my favourites are the ability to create multiple Friends screens of 12 contacts each (instead of the current one), use multiple colours for sketching drawings to send to your friends, and reply to emails straight from the watch.
Another notable feature is Activation Lock. This requires you to enter your Apple iCloud ID and password during its initial setup. The watch will then be tied to your account, so no one can use your watch or wipe out its data if you were to lose it.
There are new watch faces with watchOS 2. The Time-lapse watch faces display city landscapes in time-lapse videos. When you wake up the display, it will show a short animation of the cityscape that corresponds to the time.
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The Photo and Photo Album watch faces - which I prefer over Time-lapse ones - show your favourite pictures. You can only use one photo with the Photo watch face, while a collection of photos will appear randomly with the Photo Album watch face.
You can also use the photos captured by the Live Photos feature of the latest iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The Live Photos will appear as animation when you wake up the display.
Time Travel is another useful feature. It lets you quickly view information associated with the future or past (for up to 36hr), by rotating the Digital Crown. For instance, turn the crown clockwise to see upcoming appointments or weather forecasts, and anti-clockwise to see past events.
With the new OS, the Apple Watch turns into a miniature bedside clock when the new Nightstand mode is enabled. When placed on its side and connected to a charger, it will display the time, date, alarm and battery percentage whenever you touch the screen, side button, or Digital Crown. If you set an alarm, you can use the side button to turn it off, or use Digital Crown to snooze it.
New watch colours
The watchOS 2 is not the only thing new about the Apple Watch. The entry-level Apple Watch Sport smartwatch recently gained two more colours - gold and rose-gold, on top of the black and silver models.
I tested the watchOS 2 with the 42mm rose gold model, which looks exactly like any Apple Watch except for the metallic pink shade. This new finish drew admiring looks from my female colleagues, but it was not able to get much of a reaction from the men.
Still, the smooth aluminium rose gold finish gives out a more premium feel than its silver or black counterparts. I can see this watch to be a great companion to the new rose gold iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
With the Apple Watch Sport rose gold and gold model, Apple has widened the smartwatch's appeal to bigger audiences. And with watchOS 2, there are more practical functionalities and added value. But I am still waiting to create a real custom watch face on the Apple Watch.
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